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STREET FOOD ARMADA DESIGNERS: Jonathan Igharas Alexander Suvajac


design b rie f CLIENT: Mark Shieh River Market Westminster Quay

“According to a recent UN State of the World Population report, over half of the world’s population are now living in urban areas - that is 3.3 billion people. It is the first time in history where the city has become human beings’ natural habitat.”




The opportunity for this project is to propose alternative ways of relating to urban space and connecting with public life by combining cyclo-centric design with local food culture.

Well-intentioned designers have, over the last century, been active promoters of the ideas of well-being and ways of living. However, we now realize that many past modes of thinking and behavioural patterns are intrinsically unsustainable. That is, many designers and designs of the past have been key contributors to the negative economic, environmental and social issues we are faced with today.

This is a collaboration between the River Market at Westminster Quay and Makeuse Studio. The primary means of defining the problem have been through researching global bicycle cultures and relating them to local bicycle culture, focusing in and around greater Vancouver. The conclusions drawn so far emphasize that bicycle use in Vancouver has steadily increased in recent years and is now becoming part of Vancouver’s transport geography, eco-iconography, visual landscape, and quickly expanding urban terrain. The deficiencies that currently remain include a lack of research in the form of personal interviews with community leaders, members and children to understand current and future cyclists’ needs.

A prime example of this can be seen in transportation design. There is no uncertainty that transport represents one of the most important human activities worldwide. It is a basic component of economic development and social activity. Modern transportation, however, is also a major contributor to global warming, local smog and noise pollution; As a result, its expansion has damaged many natural systems. The well-intentioned invention of the automobile has created numerous unforeseen repercussions. Traditionally, the streets and public spaces of towns and cities were used for social interaction and human activity as much as they were for movement. In the twentieth century, many urban agglomerations adapted to automobiles rather than people, precipitating wider roads and more parking spaces.

02. KEYWORDS & TERMS Urban Mobility / Pedal Energy / Public Space / Community Engagement / Interaction / Urban Play / Local Food

This process stimulated changes in urban form and living patterns which consequently made it virtually impossible for many to live without an automobile. As a result of this dependency, townships began to lack public life and people appeared increasingly alienated, possessing little sense

of community or place. Their social support networks had failed because they could no longer co-exist with an environment built around and for automobiles. 04. CONTEXT The Urban Millennium According to a recent UN State of the World population report, over half of the world’s population are now living in urban areas - that is 3.3 billion people. It is the first time in history where the city has become human beings’ natural habitat. Considering this global trend of urbanization, transportation has increasingly developed into a problematic issue in cities both in the developed and developing worlds. Transportation contributes significantly to global warming, local smog, noise pollution, and as a result has damaged many ecological and social systems.


Human Pedal Power The bicycle is extraordinarily efficient in both biological and mechanical terms. The bicycle is the most efficient self-powered means of transportation in terms of energy a person must expend to travel a given distance. from a mechanical viewpoint, up to 99% of the energy delivered by the rider into the pedals is transmitted to the wheels. In terms of the ratio of cargo weight a bicycle can carry to total weight, it is also a most efficient means of cargo transportation. Today, bicycles represent different values in different societies and cultures, yet in all their modes they are increasingly gaining relevance.

spaces in ways that they were never intended for. Buildings, walls, sidewalks, and streets act as urban obstacle courses. Empty and wasted spaces become central meeting places. Interaction within the urban landscape is challenging the rules of engagement between citizens and sanctioned urban expression - it is changing the language of creativity and our perception of play. Play can expand our relationship between creativity and the city, while encouraging social interaction and engagement by the public. In this way, public space acquires identity and cultural value which creates a sense of community and place.

around local food culture are the major interest points of this project.


The environment for this project deals with food mobility and the public space of the River Market.

Design Opportunity The design opportunity for this project is to gain a greater understanding of how mobility and food culture is linked with local community, geography, cultural identity, and social engagement. Environment

Key Concept Project Focus

A Tool for Social Change In North America, where transportation infrastructure is mainly focused on automobiles, people who ride bicycles may do so as an ethical and emotional choice. An active cycling sub-culture has developed because of this. To many people biking is regarded as a social movement, a subculture in many cities, to celebrate cycling as a choice. The bicycle is challenging the fossil-fuel automobile as the conveyance of the future. Urban dwellers around the world are now turning to bikes as it is the ideal city machine: light, portable, affordable, non-polluting, healthy, and fun. Public Space as Play Space The city is full of play. Urban residents appropriate public

Transport represents one of the most important human activities worldwide. Therefore, mobility is fundamental to all economic and social activity. Each movement has an origin, a potential set of intermediate locations, a destination, and a nature which is linked with geographical attributes. Transport systems composed of infrastructures, modes and terminals are so embedded in the socio-economic life of individuals that they are often invisible to the consumer. This is paradoxical as the perceived invisibility of transportation is derived from its efficiency. Project Framework Understanding how mobility is embedded within the city’s urban fabric and informs one’s daily experience, behavior, interactions and how it all can combine with and revolve

The focus of this project revolves around transportation, lo-


cal food culture, and human/pedal powered setups and its ability to revitalize the quality of public community life. 06. PRECEDENCE In countries like China and India, bicycles play a prominent role in the informal economy. Bicycles are treated as transportation tools, not as cultural statements. Low-income earners, to this day, still depend heavily on bicycles as an affordable everyday means of transportation. In China, bicycles have taken on the importance of an intimate partner in the daily lives of tens of thousands of local people. In the country that proclaims itself a “kingdom of bicycles,” the number of bicyclists was once reported to be as high as 500 million, and many of them acted as mobile street vendors. 07. PROJECT OBJECTIVES • To explore the increasing relevance of bicycles in contemporary, urban culture. • To show how bicycling relates to climate change, energy conservation, the environment and health. • To create alternative ways of relating to cities, public space, and one’s place in the world. • To explore unconventional uses of bicycles and propose new understandings of bicycle culture. • To encourage the public to reflect and re-discover the value

and meaning of urban mobility. • To gain a greater understanding of how mobility is linked with geography, culture and identity. • To create a body of work that directly enriches the public domain, creates community, and encourages collaboration. • To create an urban tricycle that becomes part of Vancouver’s eco-iconography. • To create a vision to help one imagine the future potential of Vancouver becoming a cyclo-centric city. • To communicate an underlying ecological and sociocultural message derived from the benefits of bicycle culture. • To use public space as a playground for social interaction, transforming it from a neutral space into an individual place.

08. DESIGN COMPONENTS • The design of custom mobile food setups for businesses associated with the River Market at Westminster Quay. • The design of a modular tricycle system which acts as an platform for accomodatting interchangeable components in the form of boxes and cases. • The exploration of implementing technology capable of harnessing and storing human/pedal-produced energy for personal and/or public use. • The conceptualization and manifestation of a series of urban food interventions that effectively engage the multicultural communities of the region.

• The creation of an event that promotes, educates and celebrates FOOD 360 and the re-birth/re-opening of the River Market.




GEOGRAPHY Westminster is located on the Burrard Peninsula, on the north bank of the Fraser River. It is 19 kilometres (12 mi) southeast of the City of Vancouver proper, adjacent to Burnaby and Coquitlam and across the Fraser River from Surrey. A portion of New Westminster called Queensborough is located on the eastern tip of Lulu Island, adjacent to Richmond. The total land area is 15.3 square kilometres (5.9 sq mi). As the oldest city in western Canada, New Westminster has a long and rich history. In 1859, the Royal Engineers arrived from England to establish the first capital of the new colony of British Columbia. The chosen site was selected both for its beauty and strategic location on the Fraser River. HISTORY In 1859, New Westminster was recommended as the first official capital of the new Colony of British Columbia by Richard Moody, the Lieutenant-Governor, because of its location farther from the American border than the site of the colony’s proclamation, Fort Langley. New Westminster, at a defensible location on the north bank of the Fraser River, possessed, according to Moody, “great facilities for communication by water, as well as by future great trunk railways into the interior”. Governor Douglas proclaimed “Queensborough” (as the site was initially called by Moody) the new capital on February 14, 1859. “Queensborough”, however, did not appeal to London and it was Queen Victoria who named the city after Westminster, that part of the British capital of London where the Parliament Buildings

were situated. From this naming by the Queen, the City gained its official nickname, “The Royal City”. A year later New Westminster became the first City in British Columbia to be incorporated and have an elected municipal government. It became a major outfitting point for prospectors coming to the Fraser Gold Rush, as all travel to the goldfield ports of Yale and Port Douglas was by steamboat or canoe up the Fraser River. The location of New Westminster, at the edge of the forest, necessitated a large amount of labour and money to clear trees and lay out streets, which became a significant burden to the colonial budget when the imperial government shackled the colony with half of the cost of the Royal Engineers. Governor Douglas spent little time in New Westminster and had little affection for the city; and the feelings were amply repaid by the citizens of New Westminster, who avidly supported Colonel Moody’s city-building efforts and castigated the governor, who preferred to remain for the most part isolated in distant Victoria. In contrast to Victoria, where settlers from England had established a strong British presence, New Westminster’s early citizens were largely Canadians and Maritimers, who brought a more businessoriented approach to commerce and dismissed the pretensions of the older community. Despite being granted a municipal council, the mainlanders in New Westminster also pressed for a legislative assembly to be created for British Columbia, and were infuriated when Governor Douglas granted free port status to Victoria, which stifled the economic growth of the Fraser River city. Moreover, to pay for the expense of building roads into the Interior of the colony, Douglas imposed duties on imports into New Westminster.

On July 20, 1859, Governor James Douglas proclaimed that the new city would be officially named “New Westminster” – a name chosen by Queen Victoria herself. This naming by Her Royal Highness, gave residents, both then and now, the honour of referring to their home as the “Royal City”. In 1898, a devastating fire destroyed much of the downtown area. Citizens were determined rebuild their city and within a few years a new downtown emerged. Over the next twenty years new industries were established in New Westminster including shipping firms, paper and lumber mills. Columbia Street, or the “Golden Mile” as it later became known, prospered and attracted shoppers from across the Lower Mainland.





Ever since 1892, New Westminster has had a bustling market along the riverfront. In the early days, farmers from all over the Valley came to the market on the Fraser River using paddlewheelers and small boats.

In addition to revitalizing the River Market to become a local food destination, our initiative is to create a fleet of “mobile human powered” setups.

In 1986, the Westminster Quay Public Market was built and opened its doors to a flow of activities. In 2008, the Westminster Quay Public Market was renamed River Market at Westminster Quay to celebrate the history of Fraser River, the growing communities of Fraser Valley, and the market’s revitalization. Today, the River Market is currently under construction in an effort to revitalize the Quay to become a culinary destination for everyday foodies. Located in the heart of New Westminster, the market offers over 70,000 square feet for visitors to shop, eat, and play, all right next to the mighty Fraser River. The River Market community is celebrating the full circle of food in a more playful, passionate, and sustainable way. With a vision they’ve dubbed FOOD 360, visitors can look forward to: growing food in edible gardens at the Market, an independent grocery store focusing on local and organic foods, specialties food vendors, onsite food processors, restaurants, cooking school, and food festivals. The first floor of the Market is about food for your body and the second floor is about feeding your creativity. It’s a vibrant hub for learning and business.

Example: using bicycles and tricycles to deliver groceries and other goods from local food market to customers’ front door. The next step in this human powered movement will be fleet of food vending tricycles dubbed the “Street Food Armada”.













Brief | River Market Tricycle Armada Project  

Prepared for Mark Shieh, River Market at Westminster Quay by Makeuse Studio.